A business executive unveiled on Monday as the government’s “cost of living business tsar” called earlier this year for Boris Johnson to resign, in one of a series of tweets criticising the prime minister and aspects of government policy, it has emerged.
David Buttress, the co-founder and former chief executive of the takeaway delivery app Just Eat, is also a strong supporter of Welsh independence, saying this was needed because Westminster was filled with “Boris Johnsons and right-wing extremism”.
Buttress, who has been interviewed several times by Guto Harri, Johnson’s head of communications and a former journalist, will work in a new unpaid government role to assist companies in developing schemes to help people struggling with rising prices.
In a tweet sent in January, immediately after news of a “bring your own booze” gathering in Downing Street during lockdown, Buttress wrote: “Why is it that the worse people often rise to the highest office and stay there!?
“For me, it isn’t important what job you do or your title, but it is vitally important why you do the job and what you achieve. Boris has to go, he just has to. You can’t survive judgment like this.”
Soon after the tweet was unearthed, by Labour officials, it was seemingly deleted.
In a more recent tweetsent in April, Buttress condemned what he called “decades of Westminster Conservative neglect of Wales” in response to a message from Welsh Tories condemning Labour rule in the country.
Buttress added: “How on earth can the party of Thatcher have the audacity to tweet this!? This blows my mind. Destroyed Welsh communities and the concept of society in England.”
Another message the same month said that “no party in the last hundred years has done more damage to Wales than the Conservatives”.
In other tweets, Buttress condemned the government’s immigration policies as “awful”, and said in another that “immigration is a driver of productivity growth”.
At a Welsh independence event in 2020, Buttress said that “time is up for Westminster for me”, adding: “Let them have the kind of parliament and government that they want. Let them fill it with Boris Johnsons and right-wing extremism – have what they like – but that’s not the Wales I know.”
It comes as the Department for Work and Pensions announced that 8 million households receiving benefits will get a cost of living payment of £326 in July, with the same payment coming in the autumn.
The money is part of a package of measures announced last month, which will include £400 towards energy bills for all households.
Buttress built Just Eat UK into a platform allowing customers to order restaurant and takeaway food while taking commission from the outlets. The food would then be delivered by the restaurants’ own delivery drivers or third-party couriers, some of whom are employed in the gig economy.
After he left the role in 2017, Just Eat expanded to hire some of its own delivery drivers – either on contract with employment rights or as gig economy workers earning for each delivery made.
Buttress is now chair of the Dragons rugby club in Newport and a venture partner at 83North, which invests in another food delivery company, Hungry Panda.
The government said Buttress would join Nadhim Zahawi, the education secretary, at a meeting with supermarkets and sport organisations to discuss holiday activities and holiday food programmes.